Posts Tagged ‘Bulletproof Cocktails’

*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ’em in the Dig.

by Pinky Gonzalez

In the spirit of bulletproof cocktails (read: drinks very hard to fuck up), we offer the Americano. It was born in Italy, and named for us Americans. It’s a tall, soda-and-mixers drink, and you can knock back a few of ’em in the blazing heat without worrying about it going straight to your head.

Most bartenders won’t know what the hell you’re ordering if you ask for it by name, however, so do the following. Ask graciously if they are familiar with the highball Americano, as opposed to the (sans-alcohol) espresso with hot water. If not, kindly say something like, “It’s a little obscure but simple: equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth topped with soda in a tall rocks glass with an orange twist.”

Make sure it gets plenty of ice too. Some ‘tenders like to skimp on the rocks, lest they have to make (sigh, groan!) another trip to lug up more ice for their bin. Fill it with ice, pal.

Cinzano, the Italian (sweet) vermouth is preferred here. Campari is a scarlet-hued, bittersweet, Italian aperitif that is usually mixed with soda or used in Negronis. Campari was developed in Milan in 1860 by Gaspare Campari, using a secret recipe of aromatic herbs in a base spirit. Bark, cherry and orange peel often come to mind.

The Americano cocktail was originally known as the “Milano-Torino”—Campari from Milan (Milano) and Cinzano from Turin (Torino). During Prohibition, the Italians noticed a surge of American tourists who enjoyed the beverage. As a nod to their thirsty American visitors, the drink became known as the “Americano.”



Fill glass with ice, top with:

1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet vermouth

fill with club soda

garnish with orange peel


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*The latest ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ’em in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Fellow drinkers, cocktail enthusiasts and lovers of quality beverage: We are lucky. We’re enjoying a glorious era. The cocktail is queen, and finding a quality drink in Boston is as simple as sidling up to any of the great bars in a long list of local destinations. Many of us remember a different time, a darker time, before rye was present among the spirits on the back bar, before the B-Side was even born (may it now rest in peace).

On occasion, though, we Boston drinkers might find ourselves inexplicably outside our comfort zone. Your fratty cousin comes to visit, for example, and you end up drinking with him at the Boylston Street bars (one that is misleadingly named after a spirit, perhaps?), and no matter how hard you try to explain that “Eastern Standard is, like, RIGHT THERE,” no one will budge. What’s a bratty cocktail snob to do?

A Manhattan or a classic martini is a simple enough template, but proceed with caution here—you have no idea how long that vermouth has been open, unrefrigerated and gathering dust on the back bar. A margarita should also be avoided, unless you have an unspoken affection for from-the-gun sour mix. There is a time and a place for a beer and a shot, or a gin and tonic … and many would say that this is it. If that’s not quite your speed, fear not; there are cocktails out there that simply cannot be ruined, no matter how hard an inexperienced bartender may try. So we present a new LUPEC feature for situational ordering: “Bullet-Proof Cocktails,” or “Drinks You Can’t Mess Up.”

Proud among these is the Mamie Taylor, a great old highball named for a famous Broadway star. It was the drink-du-moment for a few fleeting years around the turn of the 20th century and consumed by the thousands in the hot summer of 1900. The drink figured prominently in popular culture, writes Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: “Poems were written about the drink, jokes were told, and articles were written using Mamie to illustrate au courant sophistication.”

The Mamie’s a simple beverage composed of inexpensive ingredients, yet bars were nevertheless able to charge exorbitant prices thanks to the drink’s popularity. According to Haigh, it became “synonymous with ‘swank refreshment’ until 1920—and Prohibition.” Mamie enjoyed a brief comeback in the ’40s and was a predecessor to vodka’s gateway cocktail, the Moscow Mule.

Let’s bring Mamie back! Just … maybe don’t ask for her by name, lest you risk feeling even more uncomfortable than you already do with your fratty cousin’s “bros.”


From Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh

2 oz Scotch
.75 oz spicy ginger ale or ginger beer

Build over ice in a highball glass. Stir and garnish with lime wedge.

Notes on situational ordering: If the bar has ginger beer, lucky you! If not, or if you’re afraid to ask, ginger ale will do. If said bar does not have a fresh juice program, ask for Scotch & ginger with extra lime wedges as “garnish”—three or four should do.


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